Since the Surrender by Julie Anne Long

Why I read it:  I’m trying to space out my glom, but after reading the first book in the Pennyroyal Green series (The Perils of Pleasure), it was really only a matter of time til I got to this one (which is book 3).

What it’s about:  (from Goodreads). A MAN OF ACTION … Fearless. Loyal. Brilliant. Ruthless. Bold words are always used to describe English war hero Captain Chase Eversea, but another word unfortunately plays a role in every Eversea’s destiny: trouble. And trouble for Chase arrives in the form of a mysterious message summoning him to a London rendezvous … where he encounters the memory of his most wicked indiscretion in the flesh: Rosalind March — the only woman he could never forget.

A WOMAN OF PASSION … Five years ago, the reckless, charming beauty craved the formidable Captain’s attention. But now Rosalind is a coolly self-possessed woman, and desire is the last thing on her mind: her sister has mysteriously disappeared and she needs Chase’s help to find her. But as their search through London’s darkest corners re-ignites long-smoldering passion and memories of old battles, Chase and Rosalind are challenged to surrender: to the depths of a wicked desire, and to the possibility of love.

What worked for me: In short, just about everything.  It was funny and romantic and sexy but it also had depth.  With lovely writing and great characters, this book was one of those books you kind of just sigh into – with a combination of relief, anticipation and pleasure.  I really enjoy Long’s humour and I had quite a few laugh out loud moments when reading this book.  I am so wishing that they are released as audiobooks (with an excellent narrator of course!) because I think they would translate so well into that medium.  I’ve made a suggestion to Tantor, so fingers crossed others will join me and there’ll be enough interest to make it so.
Chase and Rosalind have somewhat of a history but neither of them were really really bad – just awfully tempted.  This makes it much easier to like each of them and to barrack for their HEA – it would have been much more difficult for me had they crossed that line.
What probably made the book for me was Chase – he (not unlike my husband actually) has a phobia of puppets and those moments were so funny  (“Dear God.  Did everyone like puppets?  What was wrong with the world?”)- it was needed because the subject matter – missing sister caught up in nefarious goings had the potential to make this a pretty heavy read (there are more girls than just Rosalind’s sister missing).
I was going to write that the dialogue was pretty special in this one but that’s not quite right.  The parts that struck me the most were Chase’s internal dialogue, like this:

When his brother had urged You ought to marry, Chase! somehow he had never considered the possiblity that he’d be soundly rejected once he’d decided that, yes, indeed, he ought to.  Colin made it sound as though it was something that anyone could do. “You ought to go to Brighton”.  That sort of thing.

or this

He suspected he was doomed to see her metaphorically in everything from now on.  Apples. The backs of women in crowds.  The shapes of clouds.  Bad paintings.  The color green.

Probably not marionettes.

While my favourite parts were those that amused, there was depth and poignancy to the story too.   Chase had been lost since Waterloo.  He’s got almost constant pain from the leg injury he sustained in the battle and he doesn’t know what to do with his life anymore.  He can’t be a soldier anymore because of his injury but he doesn’t know where he belongs.  While it’s not explicitly stated, it seems he suffered from some kind of PTSD/depression following the awful (albeit victorious) events of Waterloo.  Mixed in with that is his very deep guilt for being attracted by the wife of his superior officer.

There really is something for everyone in this book.  There’s humour (including the puerile – there’s a group of men who give themselves nicknames like O. McCaucus-Bigg – say it out loud and you’ll get it), there’s action, there’s some smokin’ hot scenes where Chase describes certain acts to Rosalind (he’s not even doing them – not yet anyway – but oh my!) and there is a well deserved happy ending.  And there’s puppets.

What didn’t: To be honest, I can’t recall anything specific that I didn’t like about the book.  It was a couple of weeks ago that I read it but I didn’t note anything down at the time.  I’m sure there was some little thing but, overall, I thought this was pretty wonderful.

What else? It’s a rare and wonderful thing when an author can make a love scene both sexy and funny.  And, because I can’t resist another quote:-

She did momentarily graceless battle with the furlongs of his linen shirt, and it began to feel like a cruel magician’s trick, the one where scarves were pulled for an eternity ot of a false-bottomed had, and he choked out a laugh.”

Grade: A

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